frog huddle

You can call it a server line up, pre-shift, huddle, an alley rally, etc but please do call it. Daily pre-shift meetings with your service staff are invaluable in so many ways.

Constant communication with your staff, regarding goals, standards, achievements, etc…, helps keep everyone on the same page. Without constant, daily reminders of what you expect and are trying to achieve, the staff can drift off course from your vision. These meetings are also a great way to be constantly training and improving your servers.  Also, since the service staff have direct contact and interaction with the guests; it is wise to secretly/overtly inspect their appearance, preparedness and condition before they go on the floor. Competence and confidence breed pride!

There are endless benefits of the server shift meeting. There are only two drawbacks: Time and Effort. When time and energy are short, it is easy to skip these meetings. However, lack of consistency damages the results and momentum of the meetings tremendously. Can we agree that successful teams meet regularly and often? Do your restaurant and yourself a favor and conduct a great meeting before every shift!

These meetings should be very brief (usually no longer than 10 minutes). You and your staff will enjoy these meetings a lot more if you can find a way to make them informative, interesting and funny. Shift meetings have better results when employees participate and are engaged. Also, if you listen closely to the servers you will learn new perspectives of the operation.

One good way to create a good, fun, and informative atmosphere is to have the kitchen prepare a menu item for everyone to taste and discuss. Talking about current challenges and praising good performance is a nice way to keep everyone in sync. And, of course this is the best time to get a sales contest going! You can have a lot of fun with your crew during these meetings. The sky is the limit on what you can achieve with them!

Good luck and good pre-shifts!

Zach

 

Untitled by Neil Conway, on Flickr

Q: So what does Cloud Dine Systems do?

A: We make mobile restaurant management systems that increase staff efficiency and increase restaurant profitability. Our first product is a restaurant point of sale system using wireless tablets and cloud services.

Q: Could you give me an example of what that means? And use non-marketing speak please.

A: Sure. Sorry about that. Here’s a 1 minute example of one thing we do. (Hi, I’m Thaddeus, founder of Cloud Dine Systems. Thanks for visiting by the way.)

Q: Ok. You got a minute starting now.

A: Think of your favorite restaurant. Think how busy and hectic it is during the dinner rush. That’s just the wait & bus staff you see in the front of the house. Lots of running back and forth.

Q: I get it. Very busy. 45 seconds.

A: A server does this for every order: Get order from customer. Write order on paper. Walk over to point of sale terminal. Wait till free. Enter order. Order prints in kitchen.

Q: Sounds like all the restaurants I know. 30 seconds. 

A: We made a point of sale system that wait staff take to the table with them. It uses wireless tablets. Ordering is now: Get order from customer. Enter order on tablet. Order prints in kitchen.

Q: Wow! Wait staff will love you. Their feet will kiss you, if they could. 15 seconds. 

A: Even better, with the extra time wait staff can serve more tables and provide quicker service with better accuracy. (Plus no more running back to the table apologizing about being out of the special.) Better customer dinning experiences means increased tips = Happier wait staff. Serving more tables reduces the cost to serve each customer. A more profitable restaurant = Happier owners and managers.

Q: Ah. Now I see what you do.


Photo credits: Untitled by Neil Conway Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License